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Aardvark Rockets - MM.40 Exocet {Kit}

Manufacturer:Aardvark Rockets

Contributed by Tim Quigg

(Contributed - by By Tim Quigg NAR 62887 - 10/15/00)

This formerly Blackhawk R&D rocket is now fully owned and produced by Aardvark Rockets

Picture courtesy of Blackhawk R&DPicture

If you’re a B.A.R. (Born Again Rocketeer) like me, chances are you lived through the golden age of model rocketry in the late 60’s to mid-70’s. My thoughts often wander back to those days, remembering some of the great model rocket kits I built and flew as a teenager. So imagine my delight upon learning I could once again relive those cherished years, thanks to an extensive new line of 22 scale model rocket kits recently introduced by Blackhawk R&D.;

I obtained one of these kits, a MM. 40 Exocet, directly from Blackhawk R&D within three days of contact via e-mail. Cost of the kit is $10.00. Indeed, the entire 22 kit line is very reasonably priced from $9.00 to $11.00. My kit arrived in a clear plastic bag, carefully padded to avoid shipping damage. All parts were accounted for and in excellent condition. The components are of exceptional quality. The kit is designed with modelers in mind. The body tube is white Kraft cardboard, 24mm (BT-50 size) and very robust. The nose cone for this kit is cast from a urethane composite plastic, and is counter-weighted to provide proper flight stability. Three sheets of basswood fin stock are supplied in the kit, with templates included to trace and cut the fins from. I used only two sheets, however. I therefore presume the third sheet is provided should a fin be lost or broken. A computer-generated fin-marking guide is also provided with the kit. Also included is a length of braided elastic shock cord which measured nearly three times the length of the completed vehicle; a very nice touch indeed! Motor tube, centering rings, screw eye and 2 glassine launch lugs are also included. A nice red Mylar streamer rounds out the list of components. There was no motor retention hook included in the kit. One must either retrofit the kit with one of his or her liking, or friction fit the motors with masking tape. The instructions consisted of four pages, very well illustrated and clearly written. They included a drawing depicting the proper paint scheme to match the actual Exocet rocket, and a diagram showing the CP point on the finished model. The folks at Blackhawk R&D have really done their homework.

Assembly of the Exocet was very straightforward. Anyone having prior rocket building experience with the Estes or Quest rocket line should have no problem building this kit. The only deviation from "standard" construction techniques is the attachment of the shock cord to the upper centering ring on the motor tube, typical of the Quest attachment technique. The manufacturer recommends assembly with Carpenter’s Glue or CA, not white glue. I believe this is due in part to the wide range of rocket motors recommended for the kit. Finishing was accomplished with two coats of white Krylon primer, sanding between coats. After masking, the forward half of the rocket was painted with two coats of gloss orange, the aft half with two coats of gloss black. The finished rocket measured in at 12.25 inches in length, tipping the scales at 4 ounces.

Flights of the Exocet were conducted from the Blue Mountain Rocketeer’s launch site in Dayton, WA. Recommended motors for this kit include the Apogee C10-7, D3-7 and D10-7, the Aerotech D13-7 and the Estes A8-3, B6-4 or C6-5. The first flight was on an Estes C6-5. Boost was straight and stable, achieving an estimated altitude of 585 feet. The rocket was recovered successfully without damage. I next prepped the Exocet with a Aerotech D13-7. Boost was vigorous but stable, achieving an estimated altitude of 1,540 feet. The rocket was again recovered successfully and intact.

I am very impressed with this kit, and its overall performance. The quality of the components is superb, the instructions were ample, and construction was very simple and straightforward. Forced for a "con" about this kit, it would have to be the absence of a motor retention device. I would recommend the Blackhawk R&D Exocet model rocket kit to anyone who has a couple of kits already under their belt. The price is right, it’s easy to build, looks sharp on the pad and in flight, and is a good, stable performer.

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